Annual Statement of Accounts
To receive a report from on the above titled item.
The Chair introduced the item and informed members that this report would return to the next scheduled meeting.
Rob Stubbs, Deputy Director & Head of Finance (RBWM) outlined that the final audit was yet to be concluded. Members were informed that approval and publication were required to take place by no later than the 31st July in the relevant financial year or as soon as reasonably practicable after the receipt of the auditor’s final findings. The Panel were told that the code on Local Authority guidelines was flexible and that all reasonable adjustments had been made by the Local Authority. Deloitte had been working upon meeting the deadline but there were several complications which had led to the delay in approving the final annual statement of accounts. Members were told that there had been a change in auditing partners and that RBWM had previously used KPMG but that this was the 1st year of five where Deloitte would be carrying out the full audit and producing the annual statement of accounts. It was highlighted that there were significant differences between KPMG and Deloitte which included an increase in working papers and level of detail required.
The Chair queried when the final statement would be ready and Jonathan Gooding ( Deloitte) stated that it was difficult to assess as there were multiple factors involved with the delayed submission. It was highlighted that Deloitte’s ambition had been to complete in early July and that mitigating measures had been put in place, such as placing a freeze on annual leave entitlement for staff involved with the audit over June/July. Members were informed that the final accounts would be submitted beyond August and additional resources had been deployed for the audit. Members agreed that a placeholder date be found for the 1st two weeks of September in readiness to approve the accounts.
Councillor Werner queried what the contract was like with Deloitte and whether the authority would suffer any penalties as a result of the delayed submission. Councillor David Hilton (Lead Member for Finance and Ascot) addressed the panel and stated that Deloitte had not failed on their contractual obligations but that there were lessons to be learnt. It was highlighted that as KPMG had a long standing working relationship but that the ways in which Deloitte handled data was more intensive and required more time for formatting. It was highlighted that Deloitte had delivered upon the expectations as outlined in the Audit Plan. Members agreed that greater planning in detail was needed and that conversations with Deloitte should be had with respect to future actions and expectations.
Councillor Walters commented that no catastrophic mistakes had been made and that the authority would not be penalised for the delayed submission. Councillor Werner queried whether mistakes had been made and it was confirmed that there had been a number of factors including senior staff illness absence which had contributed to the delay in submission of the final statement. Rob Stubbs highlighted that the audit was intensive and would prove to be more thorough than last years accounts and there was confidence that the information and detail provided would be more robust.
ACTION- Seek additional date for special Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Panel for September.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY; That the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Panel noted the report and agreed to hold a special meeting once the audit had been concluded.
- Restricted enclosure
- CO&S report SoA July 19, item 14. PDF 2 MB